Full Audio recording from the meeting can be heard by pressing the play button below.
SOUTHWESTERN REGIONAL POLICE BOARD
August 14, 2019 – 7:00 PM
Meeting called to order by Chairman M. Bollinger at 7:00 pm. The following were in attendance:
- Shearer – North Codorus Twp. (NCT)
- Bollinger (Chairman) – Heidelberg Twp. (HT)
- Stambaugh (Secretary), M. Muir – Manheim Twp. (MT)
- Hilt, R. Whyland (Vice-Chairman) – Spring Grove Borough (SGB)
- Stalcup – Sergeant, Officer In Charge (OIC)
- Nickell – Police Administrator
- Tilley – Solicitor
PUBLIC COMMENT: W. LeFever (NCT Resident) stated she was pleased that the Board would be posting the audio of the meetings on YouTube. She asked if the new recording system included a PA system. M. Bollinger stated no. She also commented that she would like to see some kind of bicycle safety course for residents.
- Spanhake (MT Resident) commended officers Greene, Rummel, Goodling, Rowland and Stalcup for all the support and assistance they have provided her in dealing with some serious issues in her life. Their assistance and compassion have been above and beyond what anyone would ever expect.
PRESENTATION: Chief Bentzel of Northern York County Regional Police Department (NYRPD) presented facts and figures about the department with the assistance of Deputy Chief Lash. Residents had the following questions:
- LeFever (NCT Resident) asked why Chief Bentzel was at this meeting. They were invited by our Police Board to discuss the possibility of the three (3) remaining municipalities contracting services from them.
- An unidentified resident asked if municipalities “place an order” for the amount of police service they want. NYRPD analyzes the call history of the municipality and then recommends how many hours they need. The municipalities agree with the recommendation 70-95% of the time. Do the officers work twelve (12) hour shifts? Yes
- Broman (HT Resident) asked if the officers have to fulfill a quota on traffic tickets. No, it is illegal to do so. They expect an officer to pull their weight, and they have a Performance Improvement Plan. Officers are expected to put in a good day’s work.
- Lehman (HT Resident) asked what the average increase over the past five (5) years has been for municipalities that have kept their service level the same. 2.36%; in the year 2020 they will be getting a slight reduction.
- King (HT Resident) asked if NCT contracted the recommended number of hours. Yes.
- Myer (NCT Resident and former head of EMS) asked if their officers are dispatched and respond to every ambulance and fire call. Yes, they are dispatched; they try to make every call but do not always have the time. Do the officers carry an AED? No. Mr. Myer sees this as a problem, as our officers are often first on the scene and have saved lives by using their AED’s.
- Hilt asked if the price quoted to NCT included the overhead costs of the department or just the cost of the patrol officers. The price quote included all costs. Does everyone pay the same hourly rate? Municipalities buy “units”, which are a ten (10) hour block of time. The unit cost is the same for everyone; the number of units contracted is not. NCT purchased seventeen (17) units; one (1) unit costs $43,768.35.
- An unidentified resident asked if NYRPD is fully staffed; what will happen to the officers of SWRPD? Yes, they are fully staffed presently. The officers of SWRPD are welcome to fill out an application. They would go through a minimal hiring process; physical, psychological screening, drug test and a criminal background would be performed. In the past they did not find reason to exclude officers that applied from other departments (Dillsburg and Jackson).
- Muir asked if the officers would walk through the schools. Yes, they do so every day, and currently have nineteen (19) schools in the municipalities they serve. They also have School Resource Officers (SRO’s) in two (2) schools. Patrol officers perform a daily walk through in these schools also.
- Based on SWRPD stats from 2018, NYRPD proposed 90 hours of service to HT; 60 hours to MT; and 90 hours to SGB.
- Rabenstein (HT Resident and present Fire Chief) asked if there is an accident at 3:00 am, will an officer come out – even if they are not purchasing 24 hour service. Yes, an officer will always respond to calls for service. Even if they do not have an officer physically in their municipality 24/7; an officer will respond to calls for service 24/7.
- Spanhake (MT Resident) asked what the deadline is for a decision about going with NYRPD. There isn’t one; this is just a discussion. How many officers are currently working at SWRPD – eight (8) are working; one (1) is on administrative leave; one (1) administrator.
- Miller (MT Resident and MT Board Member) asked how speed complaints are handled. A speed study is conducted by placing a “traffic counter” in the area for seven (7) to ten (10) days. If this study validates there is a problem, a speed trailer is set up in the area. If this doesn’t curtail the problem, patrol officers set up a speed detail.
- Kaiser (NCT Resident) asked if a resident could be “deputized” and take pictures of the vehicle registration of cars that speed past his house. No, but with a resident’s permission an officer can have access to their property (i.e. driveway) and perform a traffic detail, providing lines can be painted on the road and visible to the officer.
- An unidentified resident asked what the SRO’s do when school is out (summer). They work the street and are strongly encouraged to use their vacation time.
- Muir asked if NYRPD would use the current SWRPD building. Too early to say.
- LeFever (NCT Resident) asked what the difference is between a merger, absorbing, providing service, taking over – she has heard all of this terminology used. Right now we are just having a discussion and collecting information. To-date, NCT is the only municipality to contract hours from NYRPD.
In closing, Deputy Chief Lash stated that he does have a limit on the number of municipalities he feels comfortable contracting services to. He is proposing NYRPD will be able to provide service to all SWRPD municipalities with ten (10) patrol officers. B. Hilt asked if the NYRPD has signed the contract with NCT yet. They will be signing it at their next Board meeting, August 20th.
MINUTES: Review of the minutes of July 10, 2019. Motion by R. Whyland, second by M. Muir to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried with one (1) abstention, M. Bollinger due to absence.
Review of the minutes of July 24, 2019. Motion by R. Whyland, second by M. Muir to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: (Attachment A) Treasurer’s Report was presented. V. Nickell confirmed that the two (2) temporary transfers from the Reserve Fund were reimbursed. Motion by M. Muir, second by R. Whyland to approve as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
Southern Regional Police (SRPD) Update – B. Hilt reported that she has not been able to meet with them since last month, but she did attend their Board meeting. She was encouraged by what she observed at this meeting. She and D. Schmidt will be meeting with two (2) of their Board members next Thursday, August 22nd. She expects to have more information and answers after this meeting. She is more hopeful about SRPD than NYRPD because it would be a merger, not absorption. The DCED has offered to conduct a feasibility study for us to merge with SRPD.
2020 Budget Update – The Police Board had passed a motion in a previous meeting to submit the 2017 budget to the municipalities for approval, the funding would stay the same as it is now. The Budget Committee met earlier this month, and came up with two (2) budgets; one with eleven (11) officers (in compliance with the CBA), and one with six (6) officers. The 11-officer budget had significant increases – HT – $661,607; MT – $588,147; and SGB $609,587. The 6-officer budget had slight increases – HT – $405,885; MT – $360,818; and SGB $373,972. B. Hilt pointed out that the numbers presented do not calculate the penalty NCT will owe in 2020 and their actual payments will be significantly less. M. Muir stated that they would have to pay the full amount in 2021. The penalty with the 11-officer budget is $802,550; the 6-officer is $83,885. There was continued discussion, with the following points being made:
- The 2021 cost is a concern for everyone, but the Board needs to continue compiling information about merging with SRPD to see if the cost will come down.
- Will the penalty from NCT be decided in court, or will we be able to negotiate an amount.
- If the courts decide the penalty, how long will we have to wait for the funds?
- Tilley had stated in a previous meeting that if there wasn’t an agreement by July 1 the litigation process should be started. This would not cost the Board; NCT is responsible for the legal fees in accordance with the Articles of Agreement. The money would be fronted by the three (3) municipalities, but they would be reimbursed.
- The Board needs to choose a budget in order to negotiate the penalty with NCT.
- If the municipalities do not pass a budget, we would continue with the 2017 budget.
- It would not be fair to pass the 11-officer budget when you know you will have to lay officers off in 2021.
- The 6-officer budget would require laying off three (3) present officers or retiring some early.
- Zeigler (NCT Resident) made the following comments:
- Utilize part-time officers instead of hiring officers to bring us up to eleven (11).
- As a resident of NCT and attending their meetings, he agrees that NCT doesn’t think they should pay a penalty.
- He thinks the three (3) remaining municipalities will function much better when NCT is gone.
- NCT did not listen to what their residents wanted; he hopes this Board does not make the same mistake.
- A judge may rule that NCT is responsible for fulfilling the CBA, which runs out at the end of 2022.
- The MOU would only allow the utilization of part-time officers until 7/1/2020.
- The 6-officer budget would require opening the CBA, which could lead to litigation.
- The municipalities cannot calculate their 2020 budget not knowing if NCT is going to pay the penalty; the police cost needs to be as low as possible due to this.
- Shearer stated that NCT would owe the difference of the hourly rate; if the cost is now $80 an hour and it goes up to $100, they would pay $20 an hour.
- Tilley stated that if the Department dissolves, that ends the CBA. Typically, a severance would be negotiated for the officers.
- Officer Goodling disagreed; if the Department dissolves the municipalities would be responsible for the remainder of the CBA.
- Precedence has already been made in the courts when Dillsburg left NYRPD they had to pay their share of the remainder of the CBA. Shearer stated that was because of NYRPD’s Articles of Agreement.
- Shearer continued to disagree with NCT having to pay the total difference in the budget; they should only have to pay the difference in the cost of the hours that the three (3) municipalities presently receive.
- In order to comply with the CBA, the 11-officer budget needs to be passed; but none of the municipalities will pass it.
- Bollinger stated that even if a budget is approved to send to the municipalities, the three (3) will not pass it, and we will end up under the 2017 budget. It will then be up to legal counsel to negotiate the difference with NCT.
- Tilley referred to the Articles of Agreement to clarify what happens if the members cannot agree on the cost of the withdrawing municipality. He quoted “the municipalities then agree upon and appoint an independent accountant to calculate such cost obligations and liabilities. In the event the municipalities are unable to agree upon an accountant they shall petition the Court of Common Pleas of York County which shall make such an appointment.”. This could probably be done in thirty (30) days. R. Shearer stated they cannot do this until NCT is out; 1/1/2020. W. Tilley disagreed.
- What happens if there is a disagreement over the interpretation of the Articles of Agreement? This is addressed in Article 14 as follows, “Interpretation of Agreement – All differences arising out of the interpretation of Agreement shall be resolved by the Board or if the dispute over the interpretation is not resolved within ten (10) days, by a vote of the participating municipalities, each body casting one (1) vote as determined by a majority of each governing body.”. So if the dispute is voted three (3) to one (1) litigation is not needed. We would get a court order to say that this language terminates. Bollinger stated the dispute has been going on for more than ten (10) days, what is the next step? W. Tilley stated they have to pass a budget and get the accountant working on it. M. Bollinger disputed this, stating a budget was already voted on. W. Tilley stated that the three (3) remaining municipalities need to pass a budget that they know they can stick to in good faith. Then have the accountants calculate the NCT penalty. If NCT doesn’t agree and says the accountants can’t come in until January 1, Article 14 kicks in – this is his interpretation of what should be done in accordance with the Articles of Agreement.
- Bollinger recognized Officer Brandy Goodling. She stated that the Police Association’s door has remained open. They understand that this is uncharted territory and the resulting uncertainty with the 2020 and 21 budgets. If the Board wants to discuss anything with the Association they are willing to sit down and talk. She understands the concern of the MOU expiring June 30, 2020. When she met with R. Whyland and B. Hilt to discuss the MOU an extension was brought up, and this is something they are willing to talk about. The Association has not been approached by the Board, but they are willing to sit down and discuss any concerns they may have; they want to be a part of the solution. With all the discussion about the CBA tonight, she wants the Board to be aware that they are open to discussions. She approached W. Tilley after last month’s Board meeting and extended this invitation to the Board. R. Whyland stated that the MOU does need to be discussed and possibly have the timeline extended.
Sergeant Jack Greene was recognized by the Board. He suggested that the Board look at a budget with the present nine (9) officers. This is the staffing level the department has been operating at for months, and it appears to be sustainable. This would stabilize the department and give the Board a year to see if a merger with SRPD is a viable solution for 2021. V. Nickell was excused to calculate a 9-officer budget.
OIC Report: Sgt. Stalcup reported there were 359 calls for service in the month of July, and 114 traffic contacts. There were thirty-one (31) offenders arrested with sixty-one (61) charges filed. There have been a total of 2,370 calls for service and 292 arrest charges filed through August 1st. An unidentified resident asked who was handling the investigations since Detective Layden left the department. All the officers are sharing in the load.
- On July 12th two (2) SWRPD officers participated in a roving DUI patrol hosted by Penn Township Police Department. This was a four (4) hour detail with the officers focusing exclusively on traffic enforcement within our own jurisdiction.
- Smoke In the Grove – Event was well attended and things went smoothly in terms of public safety. SGB paid to have an officer there on duty at all times.
- Call Log – New process has been implemented and the website has been updated. Calls will be posted onto the website several times a month moving forward.
- Minutes – microphones have been purchased and are being utilized. This is a great time savings and big improvement in the recording of the minutes.
- Corn – thank you to the Bange family who dropped off two (2) bushel bags full of corn for the officers.
- MDC (mobile data center) to Southern Regional Police – our vehicle laptops (MDC) are leased through York County. Vehicle 124 is being retired so we had the laptop removed and transferred to SRPD for use in their K-9 officer’s vehicle. SRPD will now be paying the lease on this laptop.
- Thanks to CSO Phil Smith for taking on the project of weeding and power washing of the front of the building.
- SGB Block Party on August 24th will be attended by an officer; child id kits will be provided to attendees.
- DCED Study – a letter of intent needs to be sent to the DCED for a feasibility study to be performed for merging with SRPD. This needs Board approval.
- Part-time Officers – One (1) officer is ready to be hired, the only remaining step is qualifying with their firearm.
- Executive Session – Needed to review a Use of Force report and have the Personnel Committee sign off on it.
- Donation – Several years ago HT resident Ruth Wagner donated $2,000 to the Department for the use of body cams. She reached out to him and stated that the body camera stipulation is no longer an issue and the funds can be used in any way the Department needs.
There was no Use of Force, Vehicle Pursuits or Vehicle Damage in the month of July. Officer Sterner completed on-line training in Confidential Databases. This training was necessary so officers can access the databases to investigate situations involving drivers’ licenses, vehicle registration, criminal histories, stolen property, etc. He will ensure the Department’s compliance and act as liaison. He will attend a day of training in September to become fully qualified as an agency coordinator. This role was previously filled by Officer Michael Matthews.
The press releases for July were presented, there weren’t any questions.
A letter from a bicyclist commending Sgt. Greene was presented.
A letter of commendation to Officer Lindenmuth written by Sgt. Stalcup was presented; commending him on the stupendous job he did investigating and solving the home invasion case in NCT. This letter was signed by Sgt. Stalcup and the victims of the home invasion.
Motion by R. Whyland, second by M. Muir authorizing Sgt. Stalcup to sign the Letter of Intent for the DCED feasibility study. Motion carried unanimously.
After some discussion it was decided an Executive Session wasn’t required to discuss the Use of Force report. The Personnel Committee will meet with Sgt. Stalcup at a separate time to review.
2020 Budget (Cont’d) – V. Nickell returned and distributed the 2020 budget with nine (9) officers. After lengthy discussion the consensus of the Board was the cost would not be sustainable, and the responsible thing to do was to go with the 6-officer budget. If the member municipalities approve this budget, the CBA will need to be opened and negotiated unless we merge with SRPD or extend the MOU. Once we have a sense of direction with the Police Association we need to hire an accountant to calculate the NCT penalty. Part of the cost of this budget will include severance packages or early retirement for the officers that will not be included in 2020.
Motion by S. Stambaugh, second by M. Muir to approve the 6-officer budget for 2020 in the amount of $1,140,677.05 for submission to the member municipalities. Motion carried with one (1) nay, R. Whyland.
Building Appraisal Update – M. Bollinger stated the appraisal was just received today, and nobody has had the opportunity to review it. V. Nickell will e-mail it to the entire Board.
- Hilt asked if we are hiring a new landscaping/lawn care company. M. Bollinger requested that this be put on hold since the landscaping is being addressed by our volunteer, Phil Smith. V. Nickell reported that the billing problems have not been resolved and there are two (2) outstanding invoices. Hearing this M. Bollinger stated he would get in touch with a couple of companies he has in mind.
- Nickell stated that last month the Board agreed to posting the audio of the minutes on YouTube. Should this be done immediately or after the written minutes are approved. After some discussion it was agreed the entire audio can be posted immediately, due to the fact it is public information but not the official minutes.
The next meeting is scheduled for August 28th, if needed. The Department will post on Facebook whether or not the meeting is needed.
Meeting adjourned at 9:35 pm.